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"We are No Longer the Mission Field": Hispanic Believers Fuel the World's Largest Pentecostal Group

Heather Sells : Aug 9, 2018 : CBN News

"There's just been such a shift where we're not just the recipient of the message—we are the carriers of the message." -Melissa Alfaro

(Springfield, MO)—[CBN News] The Assemblies of God (AG), the world's largest Pentecostal denomination, celebrated the 100th anniversary of its first Hispanic convention [last week]—and for good reason. In addition to marking the anniversary, the denomination rightly recognized that Hispanics have driven AG growth since the mid-1970's. (Photo: via CBN News)

Melissa Alfaro, an executive presbyter and senior pastor in the denomination, says the Hispanic growth is influencing AG ministry around the world. "We are no longer the mission fieldówe are the ones sending and going out," she told CBN News. "There's just been such a shift where we're not just the recipient of the messageówe are the carriers of the message."

In the US, Hispanics make up 23 percent of the AG population. Worldwide, 33 million of the 69 million in the AG are Hispanic.

Dennis Rivera, director of the AG's office of Hispanic Relations, says immigration has driven much of the growth in the US. "Latin American immigrants have had a major impact," he explained, "with the largest group coming from Mexico and many from Central and South America. The Assemblies of God continues to grow because of immigration and the growth of ethnic churches."

Worldwide, Alfaro says she sees Hispanics ready to receive the Holy Spirit moving in both their lives and their churches. "They're not skeptical. They're very open, very sensitive," she said.

Alfaro also believes the cultural value of family serves as a contributor to the phenomenal AG Hispanic growth. "Because we're so family oriented we bring in families," she said. "We come in packs. We come all togetherócousins, grandparents. That's the way we do life." ...

The Assemblies of God says its first Latin American District Council began in January, 1918, in Kingsville, Texas when seven ministers representing six churches came together to form a Hispanic convention.







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